Monday, 8 September 2014

Back from bloggy break

It seems like ages that I wrote to say I was having a short bloggy break - this went on for rather a tad longer than I thought. Anyway its lovely to be back and I really have missed you all and your lovely blogs. To be honest, having been away for so long, when I did attempt to get back a couple of weeks ago - I experienced a form of writer's block. Just couldn't put pen to paper (or in this case fingers to keys). Anyway I'm raring to go now.

Just a short resume of the last couple of months to keep you updated:

We treated ourselves to a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate both John's retirement in February and my (last September's) Graduation from Uni. It was a holiday of a life-time and we thoroughly enjoyed both the relaxation on board …..

watching the gorgeous sunsets...

taking in a few tipples...

in our stateroom...

and by the pool...
(well it has to be done, doesn't it)

….and enjoying many excursions to some fabulous places. Starting in Istanbul in the Grand Hotel Hyatt for two nights we then embarked on our cruise ship the Aegean Odyssey and commenced cruising towards Greece and it's Islands, Dubrovnik, Italy and finishing in romantic Venice. More another time.
I also celebrated my birthday on board too

Last weekend we spent a long weekend in Lymington in Hampshire 
where we were able to hop over to the Isle of Wight for an afternoon. 

Several campervan trips and days out have taken up most of our time this summer - which we've enjoyed tremendously as well as catching up with friends and spending lovely days with our grandchildren. All in all a good couple of months.

Now though, Autumn is on its way - my absolute favourite time of the year. Sunny days (mostly) and chilly evenings as well as the evenings drawing in and watching Autumn favourites on the TV - Downton Abbey, Strictly Come Dancing - ooh it doesn't get better than this. I don't change - ever the romantic dreamer!!

See you soon

Monday, 23 June 2014

Some catching up and time out….

I realise I've been very neglectful with blogging of late so here is a small catch up/snapshot of what's been going on.

The final stage of my photography course - on location on the
River Chelmer

A very warm day indeed but I learnt such a lot

Enjoying learning about new techniques

Very soon after John took me away for a few days to a delightful guest  house in Arlington snuggled in the heart of the Sussex Downs

where we had our own little terrace from the French doors

to enjoy a cup of tea and cake

but more often a glass of chilled white wine

where the views were just wonderful

 and where I could put my new photographic skills to practice.

This iconic view of the Seven Sisters was something I was on a mission to capture - whew - it was a bit of a walk but well worth it in the end.

This weekend we went to a local VW rally at Battlesbridge, where we met up with the lovely Sandie from Itchifingers who also owns a V-dub. A fabulous afternoon where we spotted some great camper vans and too many to show here. Plus a selection of  some vintage and retro goodies to buy.

Well that's a bit of what's been going on - more another time. As I'm not going to have access to any broadband and internet for the next week, added to which there's a summer-load of busy-ness coming up - holidays, trips, family do's etc I've decided to take a short bloggy break. I'm going to miss catching up with you all but I'll be back mid August-ish when I hope to see you all then.

Bye for now xx

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

My corner of England: The River Thames

I've lived in Essex since I was three years old and always by the coast. Canvey Island is a small island measuring approx 3 x 5 miles and sits just off the mainland in the Thames Estuary. Before it became the island it is today, during the first half of the century the only way onto the island was by means of stepping stones over the muddy creek when the tide was out or by a dinghy ferry when it was in. Now a bridge carries the heavy traffic onto and off the island.

From the age of about 7 or 8 years old, I spent many happy days playing in the sand and paddling in the rock pools on the beach at the top of my road with school friends - it was quite safe but I hasten to add something that would never occur these days, apart from anything else I couldn't even swim ! Mum always knew where to find me though and even though we didn't have watches we always knew when it was time to go home for dinner.

Courtesy of Canvey

The river played a huge part of my growing up as my parents always owned their own boats and belonged to the local yacht club.

This was one of the first - a converted fishing boat named 'Pegasus' 

This was our last boat named 'Amola' which dad built himself

Champagne for all as she was launched (note the 1960s bouffant hairstyle)

Most weekends were spent on the Thames off the coast of Leigh on Sea and Southend with several trips to the River Medway in Kent when we visited towns such as Chatham, Rochester and Maidstone.

Courtesy of Google

Once we even motored up the Thames to London - and us girls were absolutely amazed when dad told us that Tower Bridge was opening for us (only to find out within minutes that a huge ship was cruising behind us and was the cause of the opening !! )

That's me fourth from the left on the top row

I belonged to the Sea Rangers aged 14 and was always messing about on boats - canoes, dinghies, sailing boats - and I still couldn't swim!

As I said the river was just at the top of my road and just 800 yards off the foreshore was the Chapman Lighthouse on the Chapman Sands a series of mud flats which had been a problem for sailors and their vessels for hundreds of years.  

Courtesy of

This red iron framed structure rang a bell every fifteen seconds during foggy weather and believe me when I was a child, London and its environs suffered many "pea soupers"  I can tell you, and that darned bell would be ringing all through the night. Nowadays a bell bouy has replaced the old lighthouse which was demolished during the 1950s. 

As a family, most Sunday afternoons during the summer we'd be seen walking along the sea wall, watching all the boats cruising along the river and looking at the fishermen catching their tea. Often mum would pack up a picnic and we'd walk over to the salt marshes beyond the sea wall when the tide was out - being very mindful that the tide would come in again within an hour or two - dangerous as we'd be cut off from the mainland. 

 c.1950 with dad. mum and auntie Rosa on one of our picnics

This area is known as "The Point" and takes you literally to the furthest point of the island from where you can see Leigh on Sea. Here beautiful purple sea heather grows in abundance and us girls took great pleasure in trying to pick some for mum. The aroma is still with me today.

Courtesy of Google

Well that's just a little snapshot of my life as a child on an island in the Thames which I hope you enjoyed. I'll be back soon with some more of my "My Corner" soon.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

A blast from the past

Yesterday I wanted to make a meat loaf with some pork mince I had in the freezer, so started to look for a recipe. I normally make one with beef so I roughly knew the ingredients but knew I had a recipe somewhere. Well, I was now on a mission to find one and an hour later with nothing found I went to a cupboard out in the garage and there in the deep dark depths of a long forgotten drawer FULL to capacity with old recipe books - I found this one covered in dust and in a very sorry state, dating back to 1980.

does anyone remember these M&S cook books? I used to collect them on a regular basis back in the day.

I served it with mustard mash (as all the tv cooks seem to do it this way) and fresh runner beans and gravy, as opposed to the barbecue sauce.  Mmmm it really was nice but I forgot to take a picture. So today we had the cold leftovers sliced with salad and this was equally as good.

Now my hubster is a serious hoarder, he won't throw anything away - storing stuff in the garage, loft space, boxes, cupboards - you name it, its there (although he hasn't realised yet that I am apt to sneak stuff out of the house in the direction of the local charity shop from time to time) - but that's neither here nor there. So bringing in this cook book was no mean feat I can tell you. I mean it was a case of Pot calling the kettle black! Anyway this book has got so many lovely recipes that I haven't cooked in years that I haven't the heart to put it outside again and it's now going to take pride of place on my kitchen shelf. 

I was going to type the recipe out but I guess if you tap on the picture it should enlarge. Enjoy.
Bye for nowx

Friday, 23 May 2014

A Year in Books: May

Linking up and many thanks to Laura at a Circle of Pine Trees for arranging this monthly read. I'm a tad late in posting this month but 'better late than never'.

Firstly, April's choice - The point of rescue by Sophie Hannah

Last year, a work trip Sally had planned was cancelled at the last minute. Desperate for a break from her busy life juggling her career and young family, Sally didn't tell her husband that the trip was cancelled but instead she booked a week off and treated herself to a secret holiday just wanting a bit of peace and some time to herself - but it didn't work out that way...

I'm not one to read many crime novels but it had been recommended so I gave it a go. The storyline certainly kept you on your toes throughout with a very cunning plot and an unpredictable outcome. A good read and a couldn't-put -it-down kind of book.  Definitely worth a read.

My choice for May is - A week in winter by Maeve Binchy.

The Sheedy sisters had lived in Stone House for as long as anyone could remember . Set high on the cliffs on the west coast of Ireland overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean the house was falling into disrepair - until one woman with a past she needed to forget, breathed new life into the place.......

I've just been introduced to Maeve Binchy by my daughter-in-law who is quite a fan and lent me the book. Looking forward to settling down with this one and I'll be back in June with a short synopsis and another book choice.

Have a great weekend and I'll see you all soon x

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 16 May 2014

Oh my goodness.....

....where did that time go? I cannot believe it is four weeks since I posted here. If I say my feet haven't touched the ground since the Hubster retired, believe it. I think we've been through a kind of  "honeymoon period" where we were initially making the most of the good weather - days out, picnics, camper-vanning etc - you get the picture don't you. To say I've not had any time to myself is an understatement. However, enough is definitely enough. Love him as I do, I'm really in the need of some "me time" every week. I have so many things I want to do - craft, photography, writing, visits or even simply sitting down to read a book. Don't get me wrong we're really enjoying this time together but I want to get back to my old routine again.

That being so, I'm aware that I've definitely neglected my blogging of late and keeping in touch with you all. In fact I've really got out of the habit of writing altogether - in fact when I do plan to write, I think to myself "I'll do it tomorrow" and of course tomorrow never comes.

So, this is just a short post to say that yes I am still around blogosphere and raring to get going again.

Before I go, I went on a one day photography workshop last week and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I went to a class once before but it didn't really sink in.  This time it was more or less on a one to one basis (just two students) in the morning, learning camera skills and then out on location (his words not mine) in the afternoon to put into practice what we'd learnt.

Our 'location' was at Maldon a pretty town on the Essex coastline

Home of many Thames Sailing Barges

So many shots to take - surprising what a rusty piece of metal can look like through the eyes of the camera !

We then went off to another popular place called Heybridge Basin - where the River Chelmer flows out into the North Sea.

What was going to be a quick short post to say Hi to you all, has now turned out to be a tad longer. Writing for me is either all or nothing -  watch this space.

We're off in our campervan this weekend. Have a good weekend and I'll see you soon.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Easter Greetings

Wishing all my dear blogging friends a Happy Easter....

...where your days are filled with sunshine

and blessed with the love of your family and friends

See you soon